‘Love Our Colleges’ is launching as part of Colleges Week, which takes place nationally this month from October 15th to 19th.
The campaign highlights the vital role that colleges play in local communities and the economy as well as the need for proper investment in the further education sector and fairer pay for FE staff.
Activities taking place during Colleges Week include a national day of lobbying in Parliament on October 17th involving college leaders and staff, the trade unions and students. According to research by the Association of Colleges, college funding nationally has dropped by around 30% from 2009 to 2019.
Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal of The Sheffield College, has signed up to an online Colleges Week pledge to support the campaign and is attending a lobbying event in Parliament.
She said: “The Sheffield College has a significant positive impact on the city transforming lives and training students in the technical skills that the local economy needs, helping them go further in employment, careers and on to the next level course at college or university.”
She added: “The students, staff and communities that we serve are being short-changed compared with their counterparts in other countries and with previous generations. We want to see our students go further in their studies and their careers and see more government investment in further education, as well as fairer pay for our staff, to be able to continue the great work that we do.”
The Association of Colleges is spearheading the campaign in partnership with the National Union of Students, Association of College and School Leaders, University and Colleges Union, Unison, GMB, TUC and National Education Union. Visit https://www.collegesweek.co.uk/. Follow #LoveOurColleges #FairFunding.
The campaign, which is attracting support from colleges across the country, is calling on the government to increase funding for 16-19-year-olds by 5% a year for the next five years and to provide exceptional funding, ring-fenced for teacher pay.
Current funding levels in England mean that most young people receive around 16 hours of teaching and support per week. This compares to approximately 25 to 30 hours per week for students in high performing education systems in other countries, according to the Association of Colleges.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, commented: “Every single day colleges like The Sheffield College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people.”
He added: “Colleges Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and a chance to showcase the brilliant staff that make it possible. It is simple, if we want a world-class education system then we need to properly invest in it.”
For more information about the College's next open days, on October 25th and November 21st, please click here.